Morgan Vetter said she doesn’t remember the point when she shifted from being a recreational drug user into a full-fledged addict.
“All I know is that it happened,” she said. Now closing in on four years clean, Morgan and her father, Mike Vetter, sat together and detailed how Morgan has changed, and the events that made her who she was and who she is today.
Morgan said she came from good home life. She was the youngest of five and had good parents. For her, recreational drug use started out when she was around 15 years old.
“I didn’t ever feel out of place,” Morgan said. “It wasn’t me trying to fit in. It was just the fact that I think people hold such a big influence in our lives, and we don’t realize how big of an influence people have in our lives, good or bad.”
The first time she ever got high, it was on marijuana. Through high school, she got into Xanax and ecstasy.
Then, in 2008 at the age of 19, Morgan was involved in a shooting that took the life of her best friend, Abby Rethlake. Morgan was shot three times in the incident.
It was surrounding herself with negative “people, places, and things” that put her in the place at the time of the shooting. And after that, she has riddled with guilt and the belief that her choices led to the death of her friend.
It brought a large dosage of survivor’s guilt, which she treated with a large dosage of pain medication.
By surrounding herself with other addicts, she said it’s easy to justify using – they would all agree that drugs are the best solution to a problem.
“So you feel bad? Smoke this. You’re sad? Drink this. If you’re angry, take this,” she said.
At some point afterward, she moved to Tennessee. Looking back, Morgan said she believes a part of her was looking for a bit of a change. In fact, she went a couple of months without using drugs, but after finding her way into a similar crowd that she had found in Kokomo, that all changed. A series of bad decisions brought with them predictably bad results, including getting kicked out of her apartment and totaling a couple of vehicles.
“Living that life, it’s a full-time job,” she said. “Waking up every day, who am I going to call? Where am I going to get dope from? What am I going to steal? What am I going to pawn? Who can I lie to?”
Eventually, she was tired of the loneliness she felt, although she did note that the long-distance made it easier for her to lie to her parents about her drug use, and she called her dad to come to pick her up.
“Without question, like always, since day one, he was there the next day. They’ve always been there for me the next day or right then and there,” she said.
But that didn’t mark the start of her recovery. The first day she returned to Kokomo, she tried heroin for the first time.
Mike said they took her to a handful of different treatment facilities, but she would always leave.
“I was waiting on the call from the police saying ‘We found your daughter, she passed away from an overdose,’” Mike said.
“As a parent you go, ‘How did we get here? How did we honestly get to this point?’”
It was a decision that she would have to make for herself, he said.
Mike said when Morgan would ask him if he ever drank or tried drugs, he would tell her no.
“And today, I’m going to tell you I didn’t tell the truth, and I apologize, because I struggled with alcohol and I did try drugs, and through going to NA and AA meetings with my daughter, I never thought that I would find a solution, but I found a solution and I began to heal from my past because the only difference between Morgan and I, and the people that sit in those rooms, as they became addicts and I didn’t,” he said.